The Guide to Boat Insurance


You know nothing is like the warm sun and fresh air on the water if you have a boat. You’re undoubtedly thankful for all of your aquatic experiences, which makes it all the more important to safeguard your vessel with the right insurance.

When you’re having fun on the water, it’s nice to know that you and your passengers are secure. Purchase boat insurance to provide you and your friends with peace of mind while out on the lake. In some states and counties, boat insurance is not necessary; however, purchasing a policy is always a wise decision.

What is Covered by Boat Insurance?

For the most part, boat insurance functions like car insurance and protects you against damage or theft. Depending on your coverage, your boat will be covered while out on the open water or while it’s docked and not in use. Specifically, boat insurance provides:

  • Property coverage – If your boat is stolen, you will be reimbursed the value of it at the time it was stolen. The same goes for if it is totaled.  Note that replacement cost will not factor in the boat’s value depreciation. Some payouts will only be how much it costs to get the boat fixed.

  • Liability coverage – If your boat causes damage to another person’s property, such as a neighboring boat, or results in an accident that harms someone, you could be held liable. These expenses would be covered by a liability policy. This coverage may also protect you against issues caused by your watercraft, such as a large wake. Liability insurance will also pay your legal costs if you’re sued.

  • Medical payments coverage – Coverage for medical payments if you or anyone else on your boat is injured in an accident is provided by this policy.

  • Uninsured watercraft insurance – If you were to have an accident with another boater who lacks insurance, then they naturally can’t cover the damages they caused. Carrying uninsured watercraft coverage will cover those expenses.

What Other Coverage Can be Added to Your Boat Insurance Policy?

The coverage listed above is what is included on any basic boat insurance policy. The following are things you would have to purchase additional boat insurance for:

    • Trailers for boats

    • Boat tows

    • Special features like GPS or radar

    • Fishing gear kept on the boat

    • Fuel spill

    • Wreck removal

What Isn’t Covered by Boat Insurance

The following aren’t covered by boat insurance or any add-ons:

  • Boat’s wear and tear

  • Defective features

  • Flawed design

  • Corrosion from fuel

  • Usage

  • Bug damage

  • Mold

  • Aquatic life damage

Why You Shouldn’t Drive a Boat While Under The Influence

The most common cause of fatal boat accidents in 2019 was alcohol, according to statistics from the Department of Homeland Security and the Coast Guard. It is illegal in every state to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Alcohol and boating go hand in hand, and the Coast Guard enforces a federal law that prohibits boating under the influence (BUI). This legislation applies to all boaters. Consequences for boating under the influence are:

  • Large fines

  • Suspension of boating license

  • Suspension of driver’s license

  • Jail time

  • Insurance companies may not cover damages

  • Cancellation of boat insurance

  • Higher boat insurance rates

How Much Does Boat Insurance Cost?

The cost of boat insurance varies based on the vessel’s value, length, and type. According to Trusted Choice, the average annual cost for a boat insurance policy ranges from $200 to $500. Insurance companies look at the following factors when deciding boat insurance rates:

  • Boat value

  • Boat length

  • Boat age

  • Boat type

  • Anchorage

  • Where the boat is used

  • Owner’s boating expertise

  • History of insurance claims

Are There Discounts For Boat Insurance?

As a matter of fact, yes. Here are some boating insurance discounts that you may qualify for:

  • Bundling other insurance policies like home or auto with your boating policy

  • Have fire extinguishers approved by the Coast Guard on your boat

  • Be claim-free in recent years

  • Complete a boating safety course

  • Boat is diesel power

Should You Get Boat Insurance?

Some jurisdictions demand boat insurance. Furthermore, if you docked your boat or financed it, the marina or lender would almost certainly require coverage. Even if your state does not require it, you should think about the consequences of not having boat insurance. If you have an accident, you will be responsible for your own repairs and any liabilities to others. You might find yourself in a tough financial situation if you don’t have insurance. Based on your boat’s size specifications, here is the type of boat insurance you will need:

  • Small boats – Smaller watercraft, such as canoes or small sailboats, are often covered by standard homeowners or renters insurance policies, which typically provide limited property damage coverage. A homeowners insurance policy usually covers the small boat, motor, and trailer, but it does not include liability coverage. Boat liability coverage can be added to your homeowners policy.

  • Large boats – If you have a bigger, faster boat like a yacht, you’ll need to get an insurance policy. Trailer insurance may be required depending on the features of your boat. An umbrella insurance policy can help cover extra liability costs in an accident.